After 34 years, the Shakespearean company Theater for a New Audience finally has a place to call home. Performing in Off-Off-Broadway theaters, school gymnasiums, and even a YMCA, it can come back to the Polansky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn time and time again, because, well, it’s theirs.
Theater for a New Audience was founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz and specializes in performing the works of Shakespeare and other classical dramas. They have introduced the Bard of Avon’s work to countless theater goers, including students they provide workshops for. The brand new theater which officially opened this past Tuesday was named for The Polansky Foundation, due to its generous donation to the cause. The main theater seats 299 people, and also includes a 50 seat rehearsal space and a cafe in the lobby.
The brand new theater is just one part of the cultural arts district in Brooklyn that has come together in recent years. The area surrounding the Brooklyn Academy of Music is now alive with the arts, and Fort Greene is seen as a place to celebrate diverse culture. Soon, new construction will take place on two a mixed use building nearby that will offer affordable housing as well as extra space for the school, including a restaurant and cultural space. This will only help the ever growing interest in Brooklyn grow.
At the moment, there are many museums and art institutes in the borough. the area is home to The Mark Morris Dance Center, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and countless other visual and performing arts. The BRIC house in particular stands for Brooklyn Information and Culture, and is a multidisciplinary Arts Center. Inside sits Urban Glass, a glass working shop and glass art exhibition.
The arts district came from the mind of Harvey Lichtenstein, a supporter of the Brooklyn Academy. He wanted more spaces of substance in the nearby areas, not just empty parking lots. His vision has come to life with local arts organizations and diverse public plazas that serve the community.
The project was announced in 2005, and after 8 years, they will start the inaugural season with the comedy “A Midsummer Nights Dream”.